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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Fantasy Book Critic Tenth Anniversary Announcement + Guest Blog by Michael J. Sullivan (by Mihir Wanchoo)

When Fantasy Book Critic began over a decade ago it was a simple blog spearheaded by Robert Thompson who wanted to spread his passion for SFF books. From that momentous decision onwards, spawned a love for books that was further strengthened by Cindy Hannikman & Liviu Suciu as they joined Robert in making Fantasy Book Critic a known staple of the blogosphere. We were also fortunate to have several talented folks like Fabio Fernandes, David Craddock, Jacques Barcia, Sabine Gueneret, Casey Blair, Lydia Roberts, Will Byrnes, Mike E. Evans, C.T. Phipps etc who steeped in to contribute from time to time.

I (Mihir) was ecstatic to join the team in 2009 and since then have never looked back. Over the past decade, all of us have experienced several life changes both personally & professionally but we do our best to be part of the blog as much as we can. Currently Cindy & I are running the blog and we do our best to make sure that the content provided is to a standard that we are known for.

Since this was our decennial, we decided to invite several of our favorite authors to talk about their experiences as well as Fantasy Book Critic in general. So kicking it off from today we have one of our all-time favorites talking about his experiences and we will continue every day to post the rest of our favorites.

Plus in the end, we will be hosting a giveaway that showcases some of the best books that we encountered over the last decade. So please give a warm welcome to Michael J. Sullivan, self-publishing phenomenon, NYT bestselling author & an all-round gentleman.

My name is Michael J. Sullivan and I began writing a six book fantasy series in the quiet of my bedroom in 2002. Five years later in 2007, after every major, and most of the minor publishers had turned me down, a very small press in Minnesota agreed to publish it. My book was released in October 2008 to a grand chorus of crickets. No one cared. Few bothered to read it. I didn’t have a chance.

At the same time something new was happening on the Internet. People were starting to talk about things they were passionate about—things like books. Readers, anxious to tell the world about treasures they found used the Net to post their discoveries. Some like-minded enthusiasts joined forces and created review sites, telling others what they liked and, to a much lesser extent, what they didn’t. A lot of them were popping up. Something called Goodreads launched in January of 2007. Another one appeared in March of that same year called Fantasy Book Critic.

Desperate to get anyone with an audience to read my book, I sent inquiries to just about everyone. Like the publishers, most declined. They wanted to read books from the (at the time) big-six, New York publishers, not some hayseed press in Minnesota. The Kindle was just being released, and self-publishing as we now know it, was about to be born. For the most part, mine was an unwanted baby. Even the bloggers wanted no part of that demon-spawn. At the time, I wasn’t self-published, but I suppose I smelled of it.

Then, unexpectedly, on Thursday, November 27, 2008 Liviu C. Suciu, of Fantasy Book Critic, decided to review indie books (novels not produced by New York. ) He began his first Indie review as follows…

INTRODUCTION: Michael Sullivan’s debut novel, “The Crown Conspiracy”—the first in a planned six-volume epic fantasy series called The Riyria Revelations—has attracted a growing following since its recent publication by indie publisher, Aspirations Media Inc. After reading an excerpt on Mr. Sullivan's website, I decided to give the book a try and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by how much fun and page turning “The Crown Conspiracy” turned out to be

The review ended with:

Highly recommended and another positive surprise for 2008, I hope Mr. Sullivan enjoys the success he deserves and that we get to see all of the planned volumes in The Riyria Revelations.

This wasn’t the first public review of my work, but it was the one that changed everything. Based off of this post, other reviewers asked for review copies and I could see the series gaining momentum through word-of-mouth. Multiple reviews lent a degree of legitimacy. When I self-published my second book (Avempartha) in April 2009, Mr. Suciu gave it an even better review. It ended with:

In short, “Avempartha” is highly, highly recommended and a novel that raises Michael Sullivan’s The Riyria Revelations to “major league” status.

Soon, I discovered I had other fans at Fantasy Book Critic. Avempartha made Cindy Hannikman’s top books of 2009 as well as Liviu’s best of the year list. The trifecta was completed when The Crown Conspiracy made Mihir Wanchoo’s list for that year as well. When my debut series was picked up by the big-five (Orbit, the fantasy imprint of Hachette Book Group), the people at Fantasy Book Critic were there with congratulations and warm wishes. To enumerate all the times they have either reviewed, interviewed, or just posted news about my books would take a long, long time, but suffice to say everyone there has been extremely supportive over the years. So it was little wonder that when I decided to debut the cover of Age of Myth (the first book in my latest series) on a fantasy site, FBC was the first place I thought to approach.

It has now been nine years since that first review. Currently I have sold over a 1,000,000 English language copies, been translated into 14 languages and have a graphic novel in production. Things really couldn’t be better. Today, fantasy has taken a turn to the grim and dark, abandoning the happily ever after because some people find such starry-eyed notions unrealistic. And yet, for me, I have exactly that. How could I not be ecstatic about living my dream and spending each day doing the thing I love the most? Apparently some people do get the storybook ending, and I owe a good deal of my success to Fantasy Book Critic.

Happy Birthday everyone, and thanks for taking the time to read an insignificant indie and for turning at least one person’s fantasy into a reality.


Official Michael Sullivan Website 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's Review of Theft of Swords 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's Review of Rise Of Empire 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's Review of The Crown Conspiracy 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's Review of Avempartha 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's Review of Nyphron Rising 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's Review of The Emerald Storm 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's Review of Wintertide 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's Review of Percepliquis 
Read Fantasy Book Critic's Review of The Viscount and the Witch
Read Fantasy Book Critic's Mini-Interview with Michael J. Sullivan
Read Fantasy Book Critic's Kickstarter Interview with Michael J. Sullivan
Read A Question Of Quels by Michael J. Sullivan (Guest Post)  
Read The Island Of Misfit Toys by Michael J. Sullivan (Guest Post)

AUTHOR INFORMATION: Around 2010-2011, Michael Sullivan has moved from a small press debut author who was featured in one of our first "Indie Spotlight Reviews" to a "name" in the fantasy field whose wonderful Riyria Revelations has been published by Orbit Books in three omnibuses starting with Theft of Swords, followed by Rise of Empire and concluded in Heir of Novron. He has also written a prequel series titled The Riyria Chronicles, which showcases how Royce and Hadrian became the fabulous duo that readers know and love. Currently he is writing The First Empire series.


Fee Roberts said...

That is an amazing story, Michael! I love hearing about authors' success stories, especially in the fantasy genre. It's great to know that one of my favorite blogs helped to pave the way. A lot of people don't consider the fantasy genre as 'real reading.' I have had teachers, in the past, try to discourage me from reading fantasy, but I refused. I have learned a lot from reading fantasy and it has helped me overcome hurdles by being steadfast and unafraid, just like a lot of my favorite characters in fantasy! Wishing you more success for the future, Michael!

Happy Tenth Anniversary Fantasy Book Critic! Here's to ten more years of awesomeness!

ediFanoB said...

10 years of excellent content!!

Happy Tenth Anniversary Fantasy Book Critic.

Anonymous said...

If I remember correctly the year Liviu started reading indie, he made a top ten list for that year. M. Sullivan was on it with Wintertide, but there were several other authors that did pretty good as indies without a big publisher swooping in to edit, reproduce, supply cover art, and promote for them. I wonder what happened to them? I mean once you've been published you are no longer and indie. What about those Liviu found who stayed indie and still are? That is the story. Happy 10th FBC. I remember when you had less than 300,000 total blog hits on your hit counter.


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